Sem ki phalli ka salan

I am a non-vegetarian, no doubt, but there is some sort of comfort in simple and fresh vegetable preparations. Whenever I visit the grocery market I am always on the lookout of fresh Indian vegetables, and الحمد لله Toronto has many if not all of the regualr Indian vegetables to fulfill South-Asian’s taste buds.

Sem ki phalli ~ Indian broad beans

Sem ki phalli, as these beans are called in Urdu language, (Chikkudu kaya in Telugu) (also called as Valor papdi or Hyacinth Beans or Indian Broad beans) are one of my favorite vegetables. They are also sometimes available frozen in the cold sections of the markets.

characters in play –
clockwise from top: chopped Indian broad beans, onion, stir-fried suya nuggets, dill leaves, and tomatoes

This simple curry that I have made with whatever I had in the refrigerator that day was nourishing and flavorsome. We enjoyed it along with Dahi ki Kadi, Parathas and some plain rice for lunch yesterday.

Sem ki phalli, tamatar aur soya ka salan – Indian broad beans along with soya granules in tomato sauce


Soya nuggets – 1 cup
Canola oil – 4 tbsp
White/Yellow Onion – 1, large, finely sliced
Tomatoes – 4, large, finely chopped (or) Canned crushed tomatoes – 1/3 cup
Red chilli powder – 1 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Sem ki phalli – around 1 kg, topped and tailed and fibrous side strings removed, each bean slit into two and then chopped into pieces ( as shown in the picture above)
Dill leaves/Suva bhaji – 1/4 cup, finely chopped

Sem ki phalli, tamatar aur soya ka salan


1. Soak soya nuggets in surplus cool water for 1-2 hours. Later, squeeze them, drain the water and put the squeezed nuggets in a dry bowl. Add fresh cool water to it and again squeeze them, drain the water and put them in a bowl. Repeat this about 5-8 times, until there is no lather in the water when you squeeze them while washing them up. This is important, otherwise the lather in soya will cause severe flatulence. So, be careful there. In a small frying pan, pour  1 1/2 tbsp oil and as soon as it warms up, add the squeezed washed soya nuggets and stir fry them until lightly browned on all sides. Remove in a bowl and keep aside.
2. Pour 2 1/2 tbsp oil in a medium saucepan at medium high heat and as soon as it warms up add the sliced onions. Stir fry until just lightly browned. Add chopped tomatoes or canned crushed tomatoes-whatever you are using, and red chilli powder, salt, turmeric powder. Mix well and pour 1 cup warm water. Let cook covered for 3 minutes. Lower heat to medium low and add the chopped beans and stir fried soya nuggets and mix well. Cover and let cook for 15 minutes. Keep stirring occasionally.

Suva bhaji/Dill leaves

3. Once the beans are tender, add the dill leaves and mix well. Cook uncovered for a few more minutes until the moisture is evaporated. Serve warm with rotis or rice.

This simple veggie preparation goes to Meeta’s ‘Monthly Mingle‘. Sudeshna of ‘Cook like a Bong‘ is the guest host this month for this event with a theme of ‘Winter Fruits and Vegetables‘.


Sem Ki Phalli Ka Salan

Indian broad beans (also sometimes referred to as Valor papdi or Hyacinth Beans ), or Sem Ki Phalli as they are called in Urdu language, (Chikkudu kaya in Telugu) are are a kind of green bean, very commonly sold in Indian markets and are available fresh daily at the ‘Rythu Bazar’ or the Farmers Market in India where you get to see an array of fresh fruits, spices, nuts, herbs and vegetables in huge piles being sold at reasonable prices. I do not usually get to see Indian vegetables and herbs at the Farmers market here, but when I do, I do not hesitate to get some, cook and enjoy eating them to the late morsel. Try searching for these beans at the Indian or Chinese grocery stores and food markets, you will find them definitely.

Indian broad beans – Sem ki phalli

The last week, I found some of these beans at the market and prepared this very comforting and simple stir fry which brings along many memories of my dear Ammi and my childhood. After washing and pat drying them, I always used to sit along with my mother to remove the hard fibrous srtings from the sides, split each bean into two, remove the seeds from inside into a small cup, and make a small pile of the prepared beans, chatting away endlessly. She used to then chop them up and when all were done, I was always so eager to taste this mouth wateringly delicious simple vegetable stir fry preperaed by her at the meal. Faint nostalgic memories like these tears my heart out with an intense desire to go back and live those moments again.

Sem Ki Phalli – Indian broad beans, with strings removed, split and chopped

These beans have hard fibrous strings which are preferably removed always while preparing them to be cooked. Some choose not to remove these strings as it provides fibre to the diet. The method to remove these strings is to simply tear the tip of the bean with hand and pull away the string from each side in one motion. These beans are delicious and nutritious. Do try them if you find these at the stores anytime.

Sem Ki Phalli Ka Salan – Sauteed Indian broad beans


  • Indian broad beans/Sem Ki Phalli – 500 gms
  • Canola Oil – 2 tbsp
  • Yellow Onion – 2, large, sliced thin
  • Red Chilli powder – 2 tsp
  • Water – 1/2 cup
  • Salt – 2 tsp or to taste
  • Garam Masala – 1 tbsp
  • Dry Roasted Coriander seed powder/Dhaniya powder – 1 tsp
  • Tomato (fresh) – 1, medium, chopped fine

Sem Ki Phalli Ka Salan – Sauteed Indian broad beans


  • In a large frying pan at medium heat, pour oil and as soon as it gets warm add the sliced onion and salt and let it cook covered for 5-8 minutes, stirring it occasionally in between.
  • Add the beans, red chilli powder and water. Close the lid and let it cook for about 20 minutes, or until the beans are soft, stirring it occassionally. You can add more water if required.
  • Add garam masala, coriander seed powder and tomato. Close the lid and let it cook for 10 more minutes until the water is absorbed. Serve warm.

Suggested Accompaniments: Serve warm with Rotis.